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HISTORY OF BARCODE LABELS


The need for a solution to inventory control in grocery stores emerged long before a reasonable solution was found in barcode labels. In 1932, a student wrote a paper on a punch-card system that would do the job that today barcode labels perform. The idea wasn't feasible because the punch card readers were too bulky and too expensive unlike the barcode label readers stores use today.

Another student imagined using the Morse code system to assign each product an id label, with some small changes to the Morse code symbols; the modern barcode labels were born. At first grocery stores were reluctant to use the new barcode labels since the ink was unstable and the cost of the barcode labels weren't cost effective for most small chains of the day. In the early 1970s a computer company reinvented the barcode labels system and released it to food markets. This time around barcode labels were a huge success and soon became used not only in grocery stores but also in almost all retail industries.

Companies soon began using barcode labels on just about every inventory item since barcode labels made it easier to track items in the company's possession. Shippers could track the contents of their trucks with barcode labels, which dramatically lessened the time spent checking shipments in on the loading docks. A worker could simply scan the barcode labels on the side of the trucks and instantly know exactly what was being dropped off. Rental companies also use barcode labels to track which items are being rented and returned. Scientific laboratories employ barcode labels to scan in samples while professional industries use types of barcode labels to keep an accurate count of inventory and assets that the company holds.

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